During your time on the internet you have almost certainly come across a popup offering you a quick fix to cure your computer of something. Even if you don’t frequent dodgy websites or gamble online, you’ve probably seen reference to this common, convenient looking quick cure.
Defined as “Registry Cleaners” these popups are out to convince unwary users that a faster PC is a simple convenient click away… or perhaps even go so far as to imply that a previously undetected problem is now threatening to do harm and needs to be cured. Identified by the IT industry as “scareware”, this type of software is equal parts tempting and poorly understood.
Is there really any need for tidying my registry?
In simple terms, no – operating systems like Windows and its various applications will have files stored on PCs which are no longer strictly necessary, but they are unlikely to slow down or interfere with performance in any way. Uninstalling a program or application does not guarantee the removal of all associated files, but the amount of storage space under consideration even in instances of hundreds of orphaned entries is negligible.
The risks of running a bad registry cleaner are not negligible. The program may have no effect at all, which wastes both time and possibly money, or it can go so far as to cause critical system functions to fail. Because the Windows registry contains essential keys in specific places that both Windows and other software utilize, deleting or damaging these files is not a good idea. Registry cleaners performing automated functions can easily tag something vital as removable, unintentionally causing software to stop working and resulting in system errors. It is unusual, but in some cases damage can be so extensive as to require the reinstallation of Windows.
Essentially there is no risk leaving a few outdated registry entries sitting around and considerable risk to running a registry cleaner – but if that is not enough to convince you, take the case of Windows 98 and RegClean. Originally developed by Microsoft, this now defunct program caused so many problems that Microsoft had to establish a Support Page explaining that it does not encourage the use of it's own Registry Cleaner.
It is much more sensible to go the legitimate route and ensure that you are utilizing the appropriate, well designed software for the task. Luckily, here at Turquoise Coast Computers, we are well versed in not just keeping your computer registry healthy, but expanding on that to ensure a more complete tune up that with leave you with a better performing PC.
If I don't go to the Experts, will clicking that popup really cause me any harm?
Sadly, that popup is unlikely to be a completely harmless quick fix, especially in the case of pushy or flashy ads. It is not very often a developer puts the time and resources into developing a tool and then pushily advertises it for charitable purposes. And even if this is so, that well meaning individual may not be the most competent, possibly leaving you with software that causes more problems than it solved.
More likely you will click on that “free scan” and see a list of problems that you will be expected to pay to get fixed. Often the people behind these offers are attempting to get something from you. It may be outright like attempting to steal credit card or password information, or much more subtle. Scare tactics and misleading warnings can be used to frighten unwary people into installing spyware onto their own devices, which then harvests information from users in the background. You may also find yourself with some other new, unwanted software that the so called registry cleaner is trying to promote.
Making Room for Improvement
If you are finding your older computer to be slowing down, there are much better ways to improve performance. Affordable additions to hardware components include added memory or RAM, giving an older machine a nice boost without breaking the bank. With more memory available machines will more capably handle simultaneous applications and load more quickly.
We can also provide the means to swap over to an SSD drive to improve speed. Loading data from the hard drive can be the bottleneck slowing down an otherwise speedy system, and the SSD remedies this by utilizing electrical circuitry rather than mechanical moving parts. Such a swap can be done affordably and will result in shorter wait times when booting up and fewer delays in other heavier computing tasks.
The bottom line is, registry cleaning presents considerable risk and it ultimately provides a negligible amount of performance boosting. If you are looking to improve the speed of your PC you will be best served with a combination of adding memory or RAM, or swapping for a solid state hard drive. This is a guaranteed way to provide a safe and dramatic speed boost.
If your computer is running slow, contact Turquoise Coast Computers for a real and professional cleanup.
Call: 0499 380 238